Down towards the bottom of most fertility diet lists, you will find daily recommendations for minerals, with magnesium mentioned briefly and buried between other “more important” supplements. In many cases, however, magnesium shouldn’t be so quick or easy to overlook. In fact, some small studies have shown such incredible results when it comes to treating magnesium deficiency among infertile women, that you would think testing for the absence of this mineral would be one of the first things most doctors would recommend. Particularly when you consider just how deficient a typical American diet is in this important nutrient.
Symptoms of Deficiency
A Complication for Conception?
It is believed that approximately 20 percent of American women are failing to consume the daily recommended allowance of magnesium. Symptoms of deficiency can include loss of appetite, fatigue, and increased muscle contractions and cramping. When it comes to potential fertility complications, magnesium deficiency can also contribute to spasms in the fallopian tubes, making it more difficult for an embryo to travel safely to the uterus for implantation. You may not even be aware these spasms are happening, but if they are strong enough to inhibit the typical path to conception, your fertility is likely suffering as a result.
We all know about the negative effects stress can have on our hormones, but were you aware that magnesium can be a powerful and natural stress reliever? A deficiency in magnesium actually causes the stress hormone, cortisol, to elevate. Stress, in turn, also depletes magnesium levels in the body. When this happens, your body’s natural balance falls out of tune, and all your other hormones can be affected as a result. Maintaining optimal magnesium levels is one way to prevent stress from taking over and wreaking havoc on that natural balance which is essential fora healthy and functioning reproductive system.
While remaining replete in magnesium is beneficial to fertility, addressing magnesium deficiency prior to conception can also be crucial to maintaining a healthy pregnancy. One of the most immediately obvious ways a healthy magnesium intake can help is by keeping your cortisol levels under control. If your cortisol is allowed to spike, your insulin levels also increase and your blood sugar drops. One of the symptoms of plummeting blood sugar is nausea and vomiting, the morning sickness so many pregnant women dreads. Magnesium can help to prevent and ease some of those symptoms, as long as you don’t allow your body to become deficient.
Even more importantly, however, is the role magnesium plays in your baby’s overall health. Being deficient in magnesium has been tied to an increased risk of miscarriages, as well as sudden infant death syndrome, fetal growth retardation, gestational hypertension, preeclampsia, and premature labor. This is a nutrient which will prove to be essential far beyond the trying to conceive stage you may now be in, with lasting implications to both your fertility and the eventual development of a healthy fetus.
Where to Get It
Supplementing and Food Sources
The recommended daily intake of magnesium for women in their childbearing years is 300mg a day. In pregnancy, the RDA increases to 450mg per day. This is more than you will find in most prenatal vitamins. In the case of deficiency, pregnancy preparation and pregnancy, magnesium supplementation is recommended, alongside eating foods rich in the mineral. Look for magnesium malate, succinate, fumarate, and citrate, preferably in a powder dissolved in liquid, for optimal absorption. Natural Calm is a good one.
There are other ways to obtain optimal levels without supplementing. Kelp, a type of seaweed, for instance, contains 760mg for a 3.5 ounce serving, while wheat bran contains 490mg and almonds contain 270mg for the same size serving. Dried figs, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, black beans, edamame and avocados are other excellent sources to consider adding to your diet.
Epsom Salt Baths
Another way to boost your magnesium levels is by taking regular Epsom salts baths. Epsom salt is actually a magnesium sulfate and researchers have found that bathing in Epsom salts allows the body to absorb magnesium naturally. The added benefit is that Epsom salts baths are believed to be very calming and can also help the body to detox while providing aid to both the joints and digestive system. If you have been suffering from symptoms of what you think might be magnesium deficiency, try taking a warm bath in Epsom salts every night for the next week and see if you aren’t able to notice a difference in the way you are feeling.
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- Calef, H. (n.d.). More Magnesium May Help Infertility. Retrieved from: http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art172884.asp
- Matthews, K. (n.d.). Many women are missing this mineral in their diets and the effects are major. Retrieved from: http://www.sheknows.com/health-and-wellness/articles/1009485/more-magnesium-for-hormonal-balance
- Stress, Fertility & Magnesium. (n.d.). Retrieved from: https://www.magnesiumoil.org.uk/stress-fertility-magnesium-2/
- Nelson, N. (n.d.). Natural Home Remedies for Morning Sickness. Retrieved from: http://www.diynatural.com/natural-home-remedies-for-morning-sickness/
- Office of Dietary Supplements – Magnesium. (n.d.). Retrieved from: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/
- Wright, S. (n.d.). Epsom Salt Baths: An Old-School Way to Feel Better Fast? Retrieved from: http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/12/epsom-salt-baths-an-old-school-way-to-feel-better-fast/
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